strategies posted in business strategies  on 5 August 2013
by Andrew Lang 
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Is Your Marketing Too Passive?

Search engines have encouraged us to be quite passive with our marketing. We tend to wait for people to find us, rather than go out and seek them. The former requires less effort than the latter, but the former is certainly not guaranteed!

My core service is website development. Should I wait for people to find my site via a search engine? When you offer website development as a service, it's ironically better to engage with your target market more directly than be passive. A website is someone's business - few people choose a developer simply by browsing the developer's site alone. And even when they do, they're often bombarded with information - just because of the nature of websites - features, hosting, tech support etc - it's actually hard to compare two developers if you look at it from the buyer's point of view. Sure, the site can introduce your company, but there's many other ways to get that initial introduction out of the way - by going to your target market rather than wait for them to come to you.

My phone makes for a great business networking tool, and it's often the best way to pick up new business. Another way: a few quick searches in Google and I've located lots of small business forums. I can interact with these people and help solve their problems. Suddenly I have more business connections. These two methods alone can keep me in business indefinitely.

But what if you sell retail items, and you're not B2B? You can't just pick up the phone and call individuals and ask them if they'd like to buy a pair of shoes, nor go onto fashion forums and simply spam how great the shoes you stock are. If you're B2C, why can't you be B2B too? Perhaps you sell pashminas (as I do) and want to offer small quantities of pashminas to other businesses to sell themselves. After some phone calls and engaging with small businesses on wedding forums, I now have a list of a dozen small businesses who want to buy my pashminas in small quantities on a regular basis. For example, a company that sells hats and hat fascinators for weddings now also sells a small range of pashminas in their high street shop. Suddenly half my business is delivering my products to other businesses....who repeat buy if they're happy (and many do) - a repeat order requires zero marketing effort (of course, good customer service enables it though). They utilise my ability to buy at low cost in bulk (they do not want to buy in thousands of items, but merely a dozen or two), and also I can pass on my experience as to which colours sell the best in which season. If I help them, they're more likely to buy from me again.

Is your marketing too passive?

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